How to Get High-End Building Materials at a Fraction of the Cost

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building-materialsYearning for a high-end look in your home, but finding yourself a little short on funds? Marble, granite, tile, crown molding and other types of high-end building materials may be just a phone call away for a fraction of the retail cost. Contact local builders, cabinetmakers, tile and countertop installers, to see what treasures they might be sitting on.  

Left over material from job sites, custom orders that went awry (maybe the customer changed his mind at the eleventh hour), slightly damaged and discontinued materials can often be found languishing in warehouses, shops, garages and wherever else contractors can find to store them. Like most of us, these guys don’t want to just throw the stuff away, but the chance they’ll be able to reuse it is slim, especially when there’s not enough material to complete anything other than a tiny job.

Marble tile left over from a large job. We got it for way cheap!

You’ll find they’re often thrilled to be able to unload building material because it allows them to free up much needed storage space as well as recoup a little cash. For instance, we scored 22 random feet of 4 ½”, carved crown molding, ten 12×12″ Italian marble tile,s and four boxes (6-8 square feet each) of faux stone — for less than 100 bucks. Not bad, eh? (I’m not even sure what it would have cost if we bought retail, but no doubt a good chunk more than we coughed up.)

Think of Small Spaces Where You Can Incorporate the Building Material

Stone columns will be far better than typical basement posts.

The crown molding is just enough to skirt the ceiling of our small wine cellar.  We’ll wrap the ugly basement posts with the stone, and the tile, while not enough to use as a countertop, is going to be cut into smaller squares and incorporated into our kitchen backsplash.

Not every contractor might be receptive to your call, and it may take more than one, but you can find some beautiful material at great prices, (and even a freebie once in a blue moon) if you aren’t in a huge hurry and are willing to do a little digging. For those of you with a more urgent need, tile and a slew of other building products can be found at Home Depot, Lowe’s and of course,

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About Liz

Liz is a professional, custom picture framer based in Central New York. She and her contractor husband are currently renovating their second home together. At the time of this writing, they are not on speaking terms. Her love of making stuff with wood and DIY home projects began by watching her Dad. (It was also around this time Liz's incessant use of "colorful language" took root.) She's an avid gardener, stellar cook and doesn't throw like a girl: an all-around rad chick.

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2 thoughts on “How to Get High-End Building Materials at a Fraction of the Cost”

  1. I have also noticed that many builders in my area are using the materials section of Craigslist to unload leftovers from various jobs. They end up ordering too much tile/stone/flooring and cannot return it so they figure they might get a few bucks from someone who might use it. Usually they want you to pick it up but once in a while I see delivery offered for an extra charge. It seems like a pretty efficient system to prevent waste.

    • Agreed Bob. . . I’m a big fan of Craiglist in general and the materials section in particular. Using their “free” section is also a great way to get surplus but not particularly valuable materials into hands that will use them.


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